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Maryland Concludes Successful Season of Grass Racing
Selima Winner Sharing Upsets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)
15 Stakes on Four Saturdays Remain on Fall Meet Calendar
LAUREL, MD – The Maryland Jockey Club has concluded another successful season of racing over its world-class turf course, and has already begun preparing for the highly anticipated return to the grass in spring 2020.
Turf racing began in Maryland on April 19 at Laurel Park. Through Nov. 1, a total of 880 races were contested at both Laurel and Pimlico Race Course with 44 percent, or 391 races, held on the grass.
Overall, 87 more turf races were run in 2019 than the previous year, including an increase of 46 in longer turf races and 41 in shorter turf races. A total of 212 long turf races and 179 short turf races were run.
Average field size for Maryland’s turf races was 8.98 horses. A total 89 races were taken off the turf.
Doubled in width in 2005, Laurel’s expansive 142-foot wide grass course and portable rail allows for six different layouts – the All Along (rail setting), Bowl Game (17 feet), Kelso (35 feet), Dahlia (52 feet), Exceller (70 feet) and Fort Marcy (87 feet) – and offers horsemen one of the finest surfaces in the country.
Maryland hosted three graded-stakes on the turf in 2019, with multiple Grade 1 winner Catholic Boy taking the historic Dixie (G2) and Mitchell Road winning the Gallorette (G3) on the Preakness (G1) undercard May 18 at Pimlico, and Caribou Club setting a course record in the Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) Sept. 21 at Laurel.
Another notable turf winner was 2-year-old filly Sharing in the $200,000 Selima Stakes Sept. 21. Sharing, trained by Graham Motion, went on to upset the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita at odds of nearly 14-1.
Laurel will host 15 stakes worth $1.45 million in purses on four Saturdays over the duration of the calendar year-ending fall meet, starting with the $100,000 James F. Lewis III for 2-year-olds and $100,000 Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies Nov. 16.
Four $100,000 stakes are scheduled for Nov. 30 – the 1 1/8-mile Richard W. Small and 1 1/16-mile Thirty Eight Go Go for 3-year-olds and up and seven-furlong City of Laurel and Safely Kept for 3-year-olds, the latter for fillies.
Maryland-bred/sired horses are featured on Dec. 7 in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity for 2-year-olds, $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, $75,000 Politely and $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial.
Laurel closes the 2019 stakes season with five $100,000 events on Dec. 28 – the Heft for 2-year-olds and Gin Talking for 2-year-old fillies, and the Dave’s Friend and Willa On the Move, each at six furlongs, and 1 1/8-mile Native Dancer for 3-year-olds and up.